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Parents want compassion for these young Hong Kong protesters

Pronounced guilty for rioting

Pronounced guilty for rioting

Parents of some students holed up at a Hong Kong university say their children dare not surrender because the government has labelled them as rioters even though some were merely entrapped by a police siege.

A masked woman, who declined to be named, said her son went to the university two days ago and couldn't flee since. She said her son wasn't injured as he is a peaceful protester and that he told her there was enough food supply for a month.

Another mother, who concealed her face, said she was very worried as her son had refused to speak to her since their last conversation on Tuesday. A pastor, who only gave his name as Pang, said he represented the small group of parents to appeal to the government to be more compassionate in resolving the crisis without bloodshed.

He said the students are willing to face the law but many are distrustful of police and were upset they were pronounced guilty of rioting by the government even before they were charged. He said parents urged the government to drop the rioters tag on those remaining in campus.

In pic - Protesters wait to receive medical attention after leaving the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus, in Hong Kong.

Jolt to the tourists

Jolt to the tourists

Japan's government says a Japanese citizen was arrested near a Hong Kong university where hundreds of people were arrested in a police siege. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of a Japanese man in his 20s on Sunday near Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Anti-government protesters were occupying the university after retreating from the other campuses where they held demonstrations last week. About 400 people who have left the Polytechnic University campus have been arrested.

Suga said the man is in good health and without injury, but refused to give further details, including his identity and the reason for his arrest. Japanese media identified him as Hikaru Ida, a student at Tokyo University of Agriculture. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that the man was visiting Hong Kong as a tourist.

Request for law & order

Request for law & order

China has appointed a new police chief in Hong Kong in a further illustration of the central government's broad powers over the territory's institutions. The new chief, Chris Tang Ping-keung, said rebutting fake accusations against police and reassuring the public about the force's mission would be among his priorities.

He said following a ceremony Tuesday morning: "We have to maintain the law and order in Hong Kong and there is a massive scale of breaking of law in Hong Kong and there is a certain sector of the community that also condones those illegal activities." Tang has been on the police force for more than 30 years and takes over from Lo Wai-chung, who is retiring after 35 years of service.

In pic - Protesters rest near barricades and stacks of bricks at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong - safest city in world?

Hong Kong - safest city in world?

The Hong Kong government said Tang's appointment was made on the recommendation and nomination of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, but with the final approval of the State Council, or Cabinet, in Beijing. That's similar to how Lam herself was put in office. The right to directly nominate and elect the chief executive is among the protesters' key demands.

Hong Kong enjoys a reputation as one of the world's safest cities and its police force was long hailed for its professionalism and incorruptibility. However, the force's image has suffered badly during the months of unrest amid allegations of excessive violence, harassment of citizens and connections with organized crime.

China's rubber stamp parliament has criticized the Hong Kong high court's ruling to strike down a ban on face masks. A statement from the National People's Congress' Legislative Affairs Commission said some deputies had expressed 'strong dissatisfaction' with the court's ruling. The statement said the decision seriously weakened the rightful administrative powers of Hong Kong's leader and doesn't conform with either the territory's mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, or the NPC's decisions.

Fuel to further protests

Fuel to further protests

The hint that Beijing may move to overrule the decision would possibly fuel further protests. The court ruled Monday that the mask ban infringes on fundamental rights more than is reasonably necessary for the furtherance of its goals. It was aimed at preventing protesters from hiding their identity to evade arrest but has been widely disregarded.

Creeping legal and political interference by Beijing is one of the key concerns driving the protests. Hong Kong's leader says an estimated 100 protesters remain holed up in one of the city's main universities that had been blockaded by police. Leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that 600 protesters had left the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus, including 200 who are under 18 years old. Police have surrounded the university and are arresting anyone who leaves. Lam said those under 18 would not be immediately arrested but could face charges later.

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